Make sure you don’t “Do Yourself In” with a “DIY” website

Time To Call In A Professional Web Design Firm

vortex-miami-DIY-web-design-blogDo-it-yourself (DIY) business website templates and solutions may seem like a great idea, but the risks of cookie cutter design and below average site performance can far outweigh the short term savings you reap.

Budgets are usually the primary reason people go with DIY. Keep in mind that professional assistance will allow you to concentrate on higher priority, higher payoff business activities, while your site is being designed and built.

Building a website is the easy part, thanks to tools like WIX, Squarespace and other website building platforms.

The greater difficulty lies in developing content and design wrapped in an interface that presents your product or service messaging in order to set you apart from your competition.

While you probably know your offering better than anyone, a professional web designer can help provide unique, targeted content that is optimized for your audiences and search engine ranking.

If you weigh the one-time cost of hiring a digital marketing expert against the benefits of your website generating more leads via a better page rank, or social media engagement, hiring a competent professional makes sense.

Consider what an experienced web designer can offer:

 

Valuable Experience

While a DIY template allows for easy formatting, there’s a little more to business website design than coding. A professional not only knows how to make your website look good, but also how to optimize your site for SEO and your chosen audience.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the designer has worked directly in your specific industry. But a true pro will understand the difference between B2B and B2C audiences, and can help you adjust your message accordingly—and more importantly, effectively.

A professional will take the time to understand your business goals and help you achieve them by combining creative problem solving with seasoned judgment.

Curiosity, Objectivity and Insight

Good website designers want to learn more about your business in order to serve you better. Unlike DIY templates, which shove your brand into a one-size-fits-all solution, professional designers take the time to understand your brand and think critically about your next, best move.

They can also bring a fresh perspective and help you realize what’s working and what isn’t.

A professional website designer helps you deliver a message that will resonate with your audience and emphasize the core values of your products and services.

360-Degree Creative Service

A visually appealing design is important, but when it comes to your online presence, well thought-out content rules. That’s something a DIY template can’t provide.

Using a professional graphic and web designer that offers copywriting services can help you develop a data-driven content strategy that tells a compelling story and speaks to your customers on their own terms, using SEO-friendly, targeted, solution-oriented content.

Inbound Marketing and Buyer Persona expertise

Content is critical, and your site shouldn’t be “all about you”. Work with a designer who understands how to speak to your target audience using buyer personas created from demographic and psychographic data. That way, all content decisions can ladder up to the needs of the marketplace.

Comprehensive Programming Services

While generic, DIY templates may look good out of the box, they’re not fine-tuned to accomplish your brand goals or reach your target audience. Plus, anyone can use them.

To put it simply, design differentiates.

A customer’s perception of your brand is affected by your website design. Being unique and memorable is strategically more effective than being a look-alike.

There’s a big difference between pre-built templates. Pre-built themes are generally designed and coded to accommodate the needs of the many, and so there’s often a lot of extra code you don’t really need to run your site.

A savvy digital designer can design and build a custom template specifically for your brand and needs. You can stand above the competition and higher startup costs are balanced by savings you achieve in faster content publishing and a faster loading site. A secondary benefit is that custom themes generally require few updates to deal with glitches or new features that you may not need.

Knowledge of Open Source Solutions

Just a few years ago, proprietary coding and recurring monthly fees for content management systems were the norm. Now, open source platforms have brought high-end content functionality and management to the masses. A professional web designer can guide you in selecting the platform best suited for your needs.

Support

With DIY templates, the ball is fully in your court. There’s no one to turn to if you run into a problem. Online documentation and support is available, but most of the time, you need at least a little coding knowledge to act, or you can end up waiting 24-48 hours just to get a simple answer. You’re also likely to pay an hourly charge for in-depth support.

On the other hand, a professional website designer is generally there when you need them.

Final thoughts

Whether you decide to DIY, or hire a digital designer, consider the options carefully. When researching graphic and web design pros, be sure to look at their online portfolio, and the nature of the projects they’ve handled. Check to make sure the projects are live, and not just mockups with “greeking” text. References from real clients in your local area and online reviews of their work can be more valuable than whether or not they’ve done a project in your sector before.

About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.

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